MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Two companies involved in the construction of the bridge that collapsed at Florida International University had been previously fined by the government for safety violations.
The 174-feet-long, 950-ton pedestrian bridge was moved into place Saturday and was built using an innovative technology called “accelerated bridge construction,” or ABC. But two of the companies involved in the construction had been previously fined by the government for safety violations.
Just six days ago, it was welcomed with cheers and celebrated for the innovative technology that was used to build it.
“This is the 21st-century solution to bridge building,” said Marc Rosenker who is the former chairman of the NTSB.
Rosenker says when using ABS technology, a bridge is built or partially built off to the side, and then moved into place when finished.
“They’ve found this to be very economical, very safe, and a significant amount of time being saved by using this new technology,” said Rosenker.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, using ABC bridge construction can be reduced by years, and bridges replaced in just 48 to 72 hours. This helps lessen traffic delays and disruptions.
But there were known problems with the bridge. According to Florida Senator Marco Rubio, the cables that suspend it had loosened, and they were ordered to be fixed. Rubio says the bridge collapsed while the cables were being tightened.
“There will be an exhaustive review from an engineering and scientific level,” said Rubio.
The $14.2 million dollar bridge was a partnership between Munilla Construction Management and FIGG Bridge Engineers. Both have been accused of unsafe practices.
Federal records show that over the last four years, Munilla Construction has been fined more than $58,000 for safety violations. FIGG Bridge Engineers was fined $28,000, after a 90-ton section of a bridge it was working on in 2012 collapsed in Virginia.